We are often told to “Have faith,” or “Be faithful.” But what does that actually mean and how do we accomplish that in our daily lives? What impact does faith have on us and others around us? It is so easy to be negative about things and people. That is a tendency of our fallen nature or sinful nature. I am going to propose today that negativity is simply misplaced faith. Although this is a big topic, I will keep it short for the purposes of this blog.
Faith (Google’s definition)
- 1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
- 2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Following this definition, we can have faith that something is true and even stake our lives on it even if it is not true, because it is not based on scientific proof or facts. If we have faith that gravity will not affect us and we proceed to jump out of the tenth floor of a building based on that faith, we are taking a “leap of faith.” The consequences of that faith will however be based on facts. Gravity will take over and we will plummet to our death on the hard surface below. That is a negative consequence because our faith was placed in the wrong thing. It is based on a misconception instead of reality.
If I am hanging from a cliff with my fingers slipping and someone offers me their hand to pull me up, I have a choice to make. I may not know if they are strong enough to pull me up, but I do know that gravity is trying to pull me down and will soon succeed if I cannot maintain my grip. I can choose to place my trust in the extended hand. I will have to let go of the cliff side in order to do that. By faith, I let go and grab the proffered hand even though there may not be proof of success. The consequence is either success or failure, but by faith I have chosen.
There are many who have religious faith for a spiritual future and purpose. Placing your faith in the right God will have enormous positive consequences. However, choosing to place your faith in the wrong god will have eternally disastrous results. Even atheism is a faith based religion. It is placing all your faith in yourself, thus elevating yourself to the level of god. That is self worship.
Faith is a powerful thing because it involves choosing a belief system and trusting in that belief system in spite of consequences. If I believe that I am bad, worthless, helpless, unwanted, or any other negative belief, I will live as if my identity is based on those things. That is misplaced faith. It is not a lack of faith. I do not believe there is such a thing as a lack of faith. It is simply faith placed in the wrong things. The consequences of that kind of belief system are a downward spiral of failure and defeat. We live by and act on our belief systems.
When we choose to live by faith in God, creator of the universe, He will reward that faith because He is alive and active in our lives. Without faith in God, it is impossible to please Him. Faith in God is that, often very difficult choice to trust that He will do what He says He will, even when we do not know yet what will happen. Study the “by faith” statements of Hebrews 11 and see what the consequences were.
As we exercise our faith in the right places, God is faithful and will make our faith continue to grow. Faith grows with exercise in the same way that muscles grow when we exercise them. Faith is difficult at first and sometimes even seems impossible. But as we deliberately choose to place our faith in God and His truth, we will discover that our faith gets stronger and the choice to believe and trust gets easier. God provides tangible experience, creating a stronger foundation for our faith. It is a learning experience and environment that fosters growth and maturity.
How do we know that our belief system is truth based? We obviously all want positive consequences to come out of our beliefs. We want healthy faith. Truth based beliefs foster a peace and serenity that cannot be washed away by all the things that happen in our lives. Even in the midst of chaos and real pain, God’s peace and joy will remain in our hearts if our belief system is truth based. We will not be so easily affected by things people say or do because our beliefs and faith will be rooted in truth, embedded in God’s perspective rather than an earthly perspective.
When we notice that our peace is disturbed by something, we can simply ask God to show us what that is coming from and ask Him to guide us as we follow it to the root. At the root where the belief is not exactly in line with God’s perspective, we can then ask Him to replace that belief system with His truth. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to lead us into all truth. He will be faithful to replace our faulty thinking with His perspective so that we can live out of a place of truth based faith and peace.
God bless you all!